School bans bottled water


Over 1000 students join the ban on bottled water.

Monte school bans bottled water

David de Rothschild, expedition leader of the Plastiki, Claudia Saunders (cutting ribbon), environment captain of Monte Sant’ Angelo Mercy College North Sydney, and Jon Dee, founder and MD of Do Something, founder of Do Something’s Go Tap! campaign.

Credit: Do Something

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A Sydney school has become the first in Australia to ban the sale of bottled water in a student-led initiative.

NSW Australian of the Year, Jon Dee, congratulated the Monte Sant' Angelo Mercy College for "ridding the school of bottled water".

"It's great that the school has installed new fountains and bottle refill stations that will give students fresh, free drinking water on tap," said Dee, the founder of Do Something's Go Tap! campaign.

Australians spend half a billion dollars on bottled water every year, with the bottled water industry contributing more than 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gasses a year.

Since 2007, Manly council has installed six filtered bubblers to promote the use of tap water. In January this year, a water fountain was built in the main street of Kangaroo Valley, and the nearby village of Milton is planning to follow suit soon.

Yesterday's ban at the North Sydney school marks exactly one year from the date of Bundanoon's world-first action to ban the sale of bottled water.

"The students saw that many people are coming together to ban plastic water bottles and they decided that they wanted to do the same in their school," said Dee.

In an interview with ABC Radio Canberra, environment captain at Monte, Claudia Saunders, confidently told the story of how the junior Student Representative Council (SRC) convinced staff, parents and over 1000 students to join the ban.

"We'd heard about the successes of Manly Council and Bundanoon," said 17-year old Saunders.

"They [the SRC's] discovered the Go Tap! campaign... and they discovered all the benefits for the environment, of saving money and also a lot of health benefits of drinking tap water... and then they got the P&F Association on board."

When asked about the support that the ban had in the school, Saunders responded that "everyone really got on side and saw the benefits".

"This is only one part of the environmental initiative Monte is introducing. We've implemented things like Nude Food Day, we held a celebration of World Environment Day, and we created a Green Team which is a student body that looks specifically at making Monte more environmentally friendly."

"We're putting the challenge out there to other students at other schools to get involved with similar initiatives," concluded Saunders.

Saunders cut the ribbon to one of their six water bubblers yesterday, which will provide clean tap water to all the staff, students and over 1000 students at the school.

The bubblers were provided by Street Furniture Australia, the same company that donated three fountains and bottle refill stations to Bundanoon.

Dee talked about how inspiring it was to listen to Claudia Saunders. "Hearing the kids talk about how proud they were of what they'd done was truly inspiring."

"This kind of action is a great way to empower the school kids. For example, the students also wanted only fairtrade chocolate at their school and so they banned the sale of Cadbury chocolate frogs at their school," said Dee.

"The Monte bottled water ban provides a role model for other schools to follow," said Dee.

Eco-adventurer David de Rothschild, recently back from his four-month voyage to highlight plastic waste in our oceans, congratulated the school for being environmental leaders.

"By refusing single use bottled water, they've made a powerful statement that can galvanize other young people to act to reduce plastic waste in our environment."